ENGINEER AND MIXER RYAN WILLIAMS ON THE SATURDAY LEBRAIN TRAIN

Mike LeBrain and I will be interviewing a well-respected engineer and mixer in the music business who started out working with one of the biggest producers of all time Brendan O’Brien. Not a bad way to learn the business. Join us why we walk through Ryan’s career and all the great bands he has worked with and some interesting stories about some things that happened along the way. By the way, Ryan is my brother-in-law so I know the deep dark secrets…kidding…or am I?????

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and John Snow

Saturday July 3 – Episode 74 – Ryan Williams

Have you ever had anything with your name on it nominated for a Grammy award?  Ryan Williams has — for his work on Train’s Drops of Jupiter, Velvet Revolver’s Contraband, and Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger.  And we’ll be talking to him about it on Saturday’s LeBrain Train.

Join John Snow and I for this special Saturday episode with a very in-demand engineer.  How much demand?  Well, besides Stone Temple Pilots, he’s either engineered or mixed for Matt Nathanson, 3 Doors Down, Lifehouse, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Pearl Jam, Outkast, Staind, Michelle Branch, The Panic Channel, Phil Collen’s Delta Deep, Korn, Static-X, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Biffy Clyro, 10 Years, Atreyu, Mastodon, Billy Idol, P!nk, Sugar Ray, Deftones, Adam Lambert, Coheed & Cambria, The Black Dahlia Murder, Bush, Neon Trees, and Beck.  He even has a co-write on a Kelly Clarkson song.  Is that enough demand for ya?

This is going to be a great chance for us to pick the brain of a guy who has literally worked with the biggest names in modern music.  You do not want to miss this one — catch it live so we can ask Ryan your questions!

Saturday July 3, 1:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

Def Leppard – ‘The Collection, Volume 3’ – Album Review

After a year since the release of The Collection Volume 1, Def Leppard released Volume 2.  It wasn’t until 2 years later that we finally received Volume 3. I believe the delay was due to the Covid-19 virus so I will forgive them for the delay. And as I did with the first two in the collection, I bought the Vinyl edition. And this was one was crucial to do that because these albums were not available on vinyl so it was even more of a must have buy. You can read those reviews here… click on The Collection Volume 1 and The Collection Volume 2.  As I normally do with these box sets, I focus mostly on the packaging and the bonus material as the main albums we all know and love or we wouldn’t be buying this set.  I want to know if we are getting a bang for our buck on the whole package.

Look at all the albums and songs you are getting. There are 3 Studio albums and 3 albums of bonus material and there a total of 9 LPs in the set as 3 of the albums are double LPs.  It is heavy and chock full of great tunes that will give you hours and hours of fun. I always save the sticker that is on the plastic wrapping and this time is no different.  Here is a summary of the box set.

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‘Def Leppard: The Definitive Visual History’ by Ross Halfin – Book Review

I stumbled across this book at a store called 2nd & Charles. They sell used books, games, cds, vinyl, you name it. I was browsing the book section, in the music section of course, and stumbled across this beauty. As you know, Def Leppard is one of my favorite bands and I will grab anything I can find by them or about them. And this was write up my alley because it is a picture books and few words because me no like words, reading bad!! Picture books are more my speed.

This particular book is called ‘Def Leppard: The Definitive Visual History’ and all the photographs were taken by the legendary rock photographer, Ross Halfin. Ross has photographed Def Leppard literally since the band started way back in the late 70’s. He is the only photographer to be there basically for every step of the way. This book is a beautiful chronological story of Def Leppard told in photos. And if a photo can speak 1,000 words than this books has millions of words.

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Def Leppard – “Make Love Like A Man” – 12″ Picture Disc

On one of my recent trips to record shop, I scored a couple picture discs by one of my favorite bands, Def Leppard. The one we are going to talk about first the 12″ Single Picture Disc for the song called “Make Love Like A Man” off the band’s 1992 album ‘Adrenalize’. The store I bought this at is called Noble Records and is one of my favorite local record shops in Charlotte. Noble Records has a YouTube channel and he constantly posts videos of collections he has bought and what he will be putting out on the floor. When he has big collections purchased, they usually go out on a Saturday at 10am. I was watching the video and he quickly flipped past the two Def Leppard picture discs as I could tell he isn’t a fan…but I am. I knew immediately I had to have them.

I got up on Saturday, mask in hand and headed to the store. The store was packed and actually made me a little nervous. However, everyone was wearing masks and being polite. Although I am not 100% sure we were following perfect Covid social distancing protocol, I was willing to take the risk. I went in and told Dillion what I was looking to get and he told me where they were (if they were still there and someone didn’t already have them in hand. I went through that stack and lo and behold, they were still there. I grabbed them, paid for them and got out in maybe 5 minutes and immediately hand sanitized my hands. I was so excited to grow my Def Leppard collection a little more.

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Def Leppard Funko Pop! Figures

I know, I know…what am I, 5 years old!! At least that is what my wife thinks, but when I saw these at the store and for only $5 a piece, I had to have them. Why? Because it is Def Leppard and I like collecting things that are Def Leppard.

Yes, Funk Pop! have released a set of figurines for each current member of Def Leppard. And they do a pretty good job on getting it right, but I have a few complaints. First, who do they have?

Joe Elliott…

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My Sunday Song – “Blood Runs Cold” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #157, “Blood Runs Cold” from the 1996 album ‘Slang’ is our song of discussion this week.  The song is certainly a deep cut as it was never a single and not sure if they played it live.  ‘Slang’ was a highly underrated album and was at a time when Grunge had killed the 80’s rock so Lep went out and did their own thing.  Most people wanted more of the same, but this was from it. This song is a ballad, but not like any ballad they had done before.

The song is another tribute to their fallen comrade, Steve Clark.  “Blood Runs Cold” was written by Joe Elliott and Phil Collen and this is the second tribute they had written for Steve, the first being “White Lightning” which we discussed several weeks back.  This one was a cold, feeling ballad full of sadness and emptiness for missing their friend.

It really is a dark song and I love how the bass playing by Rick Savage is really the focused instrument.  Just give a listen to how he plays the song and how the notes are hit with the right tone and timing.  He does a stellar job with this song.

Joe’s sadness shines through as he sings the lyrics and I love in the middle of the song, Phil’s backing vocals sound amazing and adds an extra level of pain to the lyrics with his delivery of the lyrics.  Then the guitar solo also has the sad feel to it as well.  It is really a heartbreaking song especially when you listen to the lyrics.

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My Sunday Song – “Paper Sun” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #153, we are exploring the great song “Paper Sun” from the band’s 1999 album ‘Euphoria’.  The song was released as a single in the U.S., but to little fanfare despite it being one of the best songs on the album.

The song is about the Omagh terrorist bombing on August 15, 1998 in Northern Ireland.  Here is what wikipedia says about the bombing…

It was carried out by a group calling themselves the Real Irish Republican Army, a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) splinter group who opposed the IRA’s ceasefire and the Good Friday Agreement. The bombing killed 29 people (including a woman pregnant with twins) and injured some 220 others, making it the deadliest single incident of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Lyrically and musically, the song is very dark and sad.  At over 5:26 minutes, the song takes you on a journey through the emotions of that sad day.  It feels like they are losing hope in humanity and in life.  The world is so fragile as if made of paper that could burn up in an instant.  Lyrics, like “Do you still hear ’em screamin'” is full of the pain that one would feel if they were at the bombing and could hear the cries for help and the cries of sorrow for those lost.

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Tesla – ‘Shock’ – Album Review

Tesla decided to make a new album after saying the last one was…well the last one.  Thankfully, that is not the case.  Tesla’s new album is called ‘Shock’ and there has been a lot said of this new album and about how much it sounds like Def Leppard since it was produced by Phil Collen, lead guitarist of the band.

And let me tell you, they are 100% RIGHT!!  It really does!!  Mostly, it is from the backing vocals.  On a lot of the songs, the backing vocals have been done in the same way Lep does it.  In fact, all the backing singers sound exactly like Phil. Now, I am not saying sounding like Lep is a bad thing.  It is, however, a little distracting and a little detracting. 

From the opening track, “You Won’t Take Me Alive”, “Taste Like”, “I Want Everything” and “Afterlife” it is the classic Lep sound.  They aren’t bad songs at all and they do grow on you with each listen.  It is just strange.  At times I feel like I am listening to a Lep album with a new lead singer.

The album is also very soft at time.  It has several ballads (“We Can Rule The World”, “Love is a Fire” and “Forever Loving You”) and even a breezy little song called “California Love Song”.  At times you could compare this album to Def Leppard’s X (often called the “Love” album for it’s ballad heavy track list).

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My Sunday Song – “Love Bites” by Def Leppard

For My Sunday Song #99, we will tackle the Def Leppard power ballad, “Love Bites”.  The song is off the Diamond selling album, ‘Hysteria’ and was Def Leppard’s biggest hit, if you can believe it.  It is the only Def Leppard song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Considering this was the fifth single off the album and with the success of “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, I was completely surprised by that fact (PSSOM did go to #2).

The song was originally brought to the band by the legendary producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange.  The song was a country song at the time and of course the band put their spin on it and turned it in to of the great rock power ballads of the time.  The title for the song actually came from another song that Leppard was working on and that song later became “I Wanna Be Your Hero” which was the B-Side for “Animal” in the US.

What I like about the song is that the guy is so in love with this person that he is actually going a little nuts.  Hell, just touching her drives him crazy.  But he isn’t sure she feels the same way.  He keeps questioning her.  Maybe it is really his own insecurities that are causing him to doubt the relationship.  Or maybe she doesn’t love him and he really senses something missing.

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Def Leppard – Concert Review (Charlotte, NC June 9th, 2018)

Def Leppard is back on tour and this time they are out with Journey on a co-headlining trek around North America.  The last time the two bands toured together was 12 years ago and I missed that tour (I am sure it had to do with having an almost 3 year old and maybe another on the way).  Whatever the reason, I missed it and I wasn’t going to do that again.

When tickets went on sale, I joined the Def Leppard Rock Brigade so I could get early access to tickets.  And damn, tickets were expensive.  This show wasn’t going to be just 2 tickets, I had to buy 3 this time as my wife and my oldest daughter (the one that was almost 3 is now almost 15 – my 11 year old opted out), were joining me on this one.  My wife was going for Journey, but my daughter was going for Leppard (and now has the shirt to prove it).  Me…I was actually going for both.  I have seen Leppard numerous times, but I have never seen Journey…crazy, I know.  Here is what you get for joining the Rock Brigade…a T-shirt & a Pin…

Back to tickets, Lower Level seat were kinda ridiculous.  They were at least $150 or so a piece and then even higher the closer to the stage.  I settled for 3 Front Row Tickets!!  That is right 3 Front Row Tickets!!!  Of course, front row in section 226 on the upper deck because I do have to eat and these were only $99 a piece (only…like $99 is cheap).  Hey, I had an unobstructed view of the show and I could sit if I wanted and not miss a thing.  No real complaints (except I will pay more next time…and there will be a next time).

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